Chapter 6: Nelliell- Green Dragon Caring
Chapter 6: Nelliell
Green Dragon Caring
I was in the dark. It was cold. It was black. It was filled with voices, echoing in and out of earshot. All I could feel was pain; it radiated from my back in waves. I couldn’t see anything. Suddenly a small pinpoint of light, barely seen in the midnight-black world I floated in, flickered into existence. I could feel its warmth, miniscule as it was, and lifted my hands to reach out towards it. The light grew brighter and bigger and warmer. It grew until I was enveloped in it. The voices eventually faded with the darkness, and I was relieved for that.
I heard a faint crackling sound, like fire in a fireplace. I slowly opened my eyes and tried to sit up, only to let out an incredibly undignified moan and fall back onto something soft. W-where am I? I thought. Last thing I remember I was walking with Prince Netherland and… and… Then everything came back to me; Netherland’s assassins, me falling off a cliff into a river, and something else… the air felt damp and cool but had a nice smell, like a meadow full of wildflowers in summertime. I looked up at the ceiling and saw stalagmites. They weren’t dripping with water, though.
There was a deep depression next to the bed I was laying in (if you call a mattress made of mossy roots and a blanket made of sewn leaves a bed), warmth rising from the hole. I got curious and rolled over to peer inside; it was a rolling orb of lava, warming the entire… cave?! I bolted upright in the bed, even though the searing pain in my back burned like fire. There were many huge alcoves in the walls and an enormous nest in one of them. Something was moving in the nest, making a rustling sound. I held my breath and sat as still as possible. Then a head popped up over the side of the nest.
To the untrained eye it would’ve looked like a thirteen-year-old boy, but when I saw those horns clearly visible under the messy desert sand-colored hair, the sandy-tan wings on his back, and a tail with small feathers swishing from side to side, I panicked. I’m in a dragon’s cave!!! I threw off the blanket of sewn leaves that covered me and swung my feet over the side. I surged to my feet… and fell to my knees. The pain was too intense for me to do much more than kneel there, shaking with the effort to not scream in pain.
The dragon kid swung himself over the side of the nest and strode over to me. I raised my head and glared at him. If looks could kill, he’d be a smoking pile of slime on the cave floor in an instant. He regarded me with a scowl. After a few seconds of this stare-off, the kid actually had the audacity to grin and laugh at me!!! “What’s so funny, baby Satan angel?!” I growled at him. He wiped tears of mirth from his eyes and raised an eyebrow at me with surprise. “What’s funny,” he began, his voice being slightly deeper than I thought it would be. “Is that you’d have the guts to look at me like that and not expect to be turned into charcoal!”
The kid stretched out a hand to help, a smirk on his face. “Come on human, on your feet.” I glowered at him distrustfully. Well if he’d wanted to kill me, I thought to myself. He probably would’ve done so already. I took his hand and he helped me up, his strength surprising me with his size in mind. “Hey Brone!” the kid called over his shoulder to someone. “She’s awake!” There was a rush of wind and a large leafy-green colored dragon with a long ridge of light-green fur down its back and feathery wings flew into the cave and landed directly in front of me.
The dragon looked at me, his golden yellow eyes with cat-like pupils scrutinizing mine, then the dragon shifted into the form of a bare-chested young man with tanned skin, green hair, and golden yellow eyes, looking about nineteen or twenty years old; his feathery wings, black horns, and tail, which had a large tuft of light green fur on the end, remained. “Well, I’m glad you’re well enough to move around on your own, girl,” he said with a genuinely relieved tone. I narrowed my eyes and slightly bent my knees, ready to run if I had to. The dragon must’ve seen my movements because he raised an eyebrow at me, much like the smaller one had.
“There’s nowhere for you to run, girl,” he said, turning around and walking over to one of the alcoves in the walls and hopping into it. “You might as well just lay back down in my bed and rest till’ you’re better.” “I don’t take orders from angels of Sata-! Wait… YOUR BED?!?!” I looked back at the mossy-root mattress I was previously laying in and felt my face grow hot.
“Yeah, my bed,” he said without looking at me, blowing small black smoke rings from his mouth. “That a problem?” I glared at him. The dragon sighed and looked over at me with an amused expression. “Anyway,” he said with a smile. “I can’t keep calling you ‘Girl’, can I? What’s your name?” I sighed in defeat. Well they haven’t killed me yet… guess it’s only fair I tell them my name. “It’s Nelliell. Nelliell Horphilia Sandaphon of Dracobane.” The sandy-haired dragon gasped and the green-haired one jolted to his feet. “You’re… the Princess of Dracobane?!?!” they shouted in unison, shock written all over their faces.
“Well if you wanna kill me,” I said vehemently. “You won’t get a better chance than this; I’m basically meat on a skewer.” The dragons looked at each other, then back to me. I narrowed my eyes and tensed, consequentially sending a small flash of pain down my back wound. “Well this is a surprise,” A new voice said, coming from the mouth of the cave. “I wasn’t expecting you to regain consciousness this quickly.” I looked up; another dragon walked into the cave in her dragon form, a silver and red Windspeed by the look of it. The two dragons in the cave with me looked behind them. “Oh Mother!” Sandy-Hair said gleefully. “Knoth,” The female said with a motherly look in her sky-blue eyes. “Did you mind Brone?”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Like hell he minded me!” Green-Hair scoffed. “You keep trying to crawl into my bed with the human! You kept saying ’but I want to get a gooood look at her!’” My face was probably a red tomato by now. “Well let me look at her,” the Windspeed said with concern. She shifted and soon I was being looked at by the female. She told me to get back on the bed and turn so my back faced her. I finally noticed that there were bandages crisscrossing my chest and back. She undid them and took a look at the line of fire.
“Good,” the Windspeed said in a relieved tone. “The wound is healing well and the poison has completely left your system. All you need now is to mend.” I eyed the three dragons with surprise. Why are they… worried about me? I thought with severe suspicion. They know who I am… and yet they’ve-. “So Miss… what’s your name again?” Green-Hair asked, furrowing his brow. “Nelliell,” I said. “Nelliell Horphilia Sandaphon of Dracobane.” “That’s a mouthful,” he said, giving me a half-smile and cocking his head to one side. “How ’bout I call you… Nell?” I frowned and looked away. “…Fine,” I grumbled. “But don’t go thinking that this makes us friends or anything, got it?”
“Yeah, yeah.” The dragon said with a chuckle. “Brone.” He suddenly said. “What?” I asked, raising my eyebrows in confusion. “That’s my name,” he said. “Brone.”
“So how long was I out?” I asked, looking around the cave from my seat on Brone’s bed in fascination. “About a week,” Brone said; he was crouched at the fire with a giant pot of water on to boil (you could’ve been able to fit three men in it, judging by how big it was). I sucked in a sharp breath. A whole WEEK? I thought with incredulousness; suddenly a bad feeling began swirling around my stomach. I surged to my feet, but pain made me stagger forward and fall. Instantly Brone was at my side, catching me and easing me back to my feet with surprising gentleness. “Hey, hey,” he chided, frowning at me. “You’re in no condition to-.” “I’ve got to get back to Dracobane,” I said.
Brone’s eyes widened; I could practically see the puzzle pieces trying to come together in his head. “Does it have anything to do with you getting injured this badly?” He asked, narrowing his eyes. I nodded. Brone sighed and took me to the back of the cave; the huge cooking pot was boiling water now. “Ummm… what is that?” I asked.
“A pot filled with boiling water,” Brone said, looking at me like I was stupid. I glowered at him. “Yeah I can see that,” I said acridly. “But what’s it for?” Brone rolled his eyes. “By the light of Draco’s Star, Nell! We’re not gonna eat you, I was going to make some soup!” I narrowed my eyes. Yeah whatever, I thought. “So are you taking me back to Dracobane?” I asked.
“Because you’re not fully healed yet, you can barely stand, and I’ve been given the unholy task of taking care of and protecting you.” I didn’t like it, but the dragon was right. I’m not going anywhere with this wound. “Maybe I can help with the soup?” I asked; asking and saying it felt like swallowing horse manure, but I figured I should do something to say thank you. Brone looked at me with shock carved on his face. “I didn’t think a princess of Dracobane, pampered and fed by a silver and gold-plated spoon from birth, could cook!” I glared at him. “Well I’m sooo sorry for trying to be useful!”
“Ugh,” Brone growled in frustration. “If I had known you’d be this difficult, I would’ve left you in the Sapphire Scales for the Mountain Knarralls!” “What are-?” “They’re like rats, only twice the size of a large human male and spit acid; they’re nasty things. They’ll eat any meat they find, living or dead doesn’t matter.” I gulped.
“Well, what’s done is done I guess,” he said. He led me to a small entrance at the very back of the cave. Inside, a large cavern filled with misty steam opened up. There, a small waterfall probably ten feet high flowed down into a large, steaming pool. “You can bathe here,” Brone said. “The water’s not cold; it’s heated by a small lava orb under the rock. It’ll go to any temperature you want it to go, plus the spring has natural healing powers. If you bathe regularly, you’ll be healed in no time.”
I blushed. “Th-thanks,” I muttered. “I’ll take a bath then.” “The leaves are over there when you get out.” He said. HUH?! I snapped my head around and saw a pile of enormous leaves, each leaf probably being about as big as a war horse is tall. “I have to use… leaves?!” I asked incredulously. “If you prefer standing on the edge of Skyra Cliff then by all means go right on ahead,” Brone said, turning to leave the bathing cavern. “The winds would blow a small human like yourself off the edge before you know it.” I growled. “I’ll have a dragonet bring you a fresh change of clothes too,” he said as he passed through the entrance. “Until then, enjoy your bath.” With that, he exited the cavern, leaving me alone. There was a flapping sound, like a towel being unrolled, and the entrance was blocked with a sky-blue curtain. But when I went over to look at it, the curtain was transparent!
“What’re you trying to pull?!” I screeched indignantly. “This curtain is crystal clear!” “Only from one side,” Brone said from his spot at the cooking fire. “And it’s from your side; only the person on the side of the curtain from the inside can see outside clearly.” Sure they can, I thought suspiciously. I went back to the hot spring and removed my clothing, which I had just now realized weren’t my own; I was wearing a loose forest-green gown that reached to my knees. After I was undressed I cautiously poked a toe into the steaming pool. Surprisingly, the temperature was the same as my normally drawn baths back at home. I slid into the water, letting out a small sigh of relief. It’s been a whole week since I’ve had an actual bath, I thought with relish. This is pure bliss.
After a good long soak in the hot spring, I stepped out of the water and cautiously walked over to the leaf pile, reaching down and picking one up; the leaf was extremely soft, almost like the towels back at the castle. There was a rustling sound as the curtain was swept open; I looked to see who the intruder was and started, almost letting the leaf wrapped around my body drop. I quickly recovered and scowled; a dragonet child, probably ten years old, nervously walked into the bathing area with her head down and something behind her back. “What do you want?” I growled menacingly. The little dragonet jumped and trembled, seeming close to tears.
“I-I-I-I have s-some clothes f-for y-y-you,” she stammered. “Th-they’re the best M-Master Brone could get.” I immediately felt a small bit of guilt and without meaning to-. “Thank you,” I ground out. The dragonet gave a single nod and turned to run. I watched her go with narrowed eyes, huffing with exasperation.
“Okay,” I said to myself, firming my resolve and looking around the hot spring. “I’ve got to find a way out of this dragon’s den, and fast.”